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I Will Never Forget Tour de Pink 2012


Lisa J. Frank riding in front of Jennifer Merschdorf

Tour de Pink is hard. Some think it might be too hard ... but I think it’s just right. It’s supposed to be hard. Because it’s about proving to yourself that you’re just as strong, if not stronger, than everyone else ... even though you had breast cancer.

On the final day of our Tour de Pink West Coast ride, the route took us up a hill that was miles long and seemed to go on forever. I’ll be honest … when we started climbing I was a bit worried, but as I got into a routine in my lowest gear, I knew I would get to the top … it was just going to take me awhile.

As I pedaled slowly up the hill, my mind drifted back to my Tour de Pink East Coast ride two weeks earlier and how nervous I was on that first morning. I’d never ridden more than 45 miles at one time and I wasn’t sure if I was ready for the challenge ahead of me.

Each day on that first tour, I rode for 6+ hours straight, on hills in Pennsylvania I thought would be the end of the line for me, through the Amish country which was beautiful, the historic battlefields of Gettysburg and further and further south towards our destination of DC.

I was the last rider in on both day one and two of the East Coast ride ... but it was hard to feel sorry for myself, since the pride I felt was radiating from my body and obvious to everyone. I rode every day with women I love who inspire me. I was surrounded by a community that wouldn't let me fail ... not succeeding was impossible. And … I did it!!!

One-and-a-half weeks later, I was standing at the start line during the first day of the West Coast ride and I was a different person. I couldn't wait to get on my bike. The scenery of Southern California as you can see from the photos is beyond beautiful. Riding under the Santa Monica pier, along the Pacific Coast Highway and the smell of the ocean along the way - was amazing.

As I’m remembering all of these incredible experiences from my first double TdP adventure – I’m still climbing that hill that would never end.  My legs are starting to burn and I’m wondering if I need to pull over and rest before continuing on. And at that exact moment, I feel the hand of an elite cyclist (who is also riding in TdP) on my back and he PUSHES ME up the hill!!! I was so excited, thankful and relieved. My legs were able to rest for a few minutes as I gained my strength. He said a few words of encouragement and confirmed I was good to keep going on my own. As he let go, I felt the weight of the hill back on my legs. But, I still can’t believe what I saw next ... he turned around and rode back down this giant hill to go get another survivor and push her up.

That is Tour de Pink.

Rider helping rider in Tour de Pink West Coast

The tour is about strength, determination,and hard work ... but it’s also about the sense of community, family and love that we feel for each other. In so many ways you could say that Tour de Pink shows the best side of humanity for three days ... and 200 miles, which we all need to experience to help remind us how good the world and humans can be.

And one final comment: To all the survivors who rode this year - no matter which coast you rode on ... You are an inspiration to me and to everyone whose life you touched this year. Congratulations on a job well done!!! I hope to see you next year!!!